Don’t steal, buy a train ticket

2015-09-01 06:00

Metrorail has urged commuters to stop boarding trains without tickets, because it is illegal.

This comes after a Metrorail employee died last week when she tripped and fell between the platform and a train while trying to stop a commuter from boarding the train without a ticket. It is alleged that the Metrorail employee gave chase when the commuter jumped into a moving train at Harfield station. The employee tripped on the wet ground. She was seriously hurt and died on her way to the hospital.

Metrorail spokesperson Riana Scott says the employee was valued and diligent. “She had worked for Metrorail for six years. Due to the incident 27 trains were subjected to variable delays, four were cancelled for the duration of the police on-site investigation. We send condolences to her family.”

Scott says commuters caught without a valid ticket risk a fine. They can be prosecuted and even get a criminal record at worst.

Metrorail believes it loses 5% to 10% of its revenue due to people riding without tickets. On average more than 2.5m train tickets are sold each month.

More than 800 ticket verifiers work in shifts to check tickets. To make sure they don’t lose a lot of money and, on the other hand, don’t use costly resources to monitor every access point every day the company places the ticket checkers at strategic points.

From a business point of view it is more productive to place staff at bigger stations. Staff deployment is based on analyses of ticket sales and frequency of use. In the absence of technology like scanners or readers the ticket verifiers have to check thousands of tickets by hand every day. During peak hours at busy stations staff manually check 47 tickets per minute. Each ticket has at least six things that need to be checked, like date, origin, destination, type, validity period and travelling class.

Most of these ticket verifiers do their work diligently despite the challenges they face. Doing their jobs is not easy as people are often resistant.

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